People always say "blood is thicker than water" and I always wonder why given that it's water that dissolves blood when added together.
That's probably a strange thing to say but when I try and apply the cliché to my family, well, it's really just a cliché. Yet this is what we are conditioned with growing up. That blood is thicker than water. The thing is, my friends have been far more reliable than my family has ever been.
I grew up on the outer, the proverbial black sheep but always thought it was because I was the eldest and travelled rather than married early etc. Since being with DH, he has made me realise that my family is dysfunctional and that I have been desensitised to being treated poorly as it's what I have been used to. I'm always doing things for them and getting nothing back. It's like pouring water into a bucket that has a hole in it.
Now I'm taking a step back. That cliché says I shouldn't but I have. And this time I'm not feeling guilty about it. I feel strong and resolute.
I didn't tell my family about my pregnancy until I was into my third trimester. At the time I wasn't sure why, I just didn't. Now I think it was because I wanted to enjoy it without interference or unwanted comments (eg. "..you've got two kids..how are you going to handle three?") and the inevitable judgements. I can see that now.
Not long ago, I had mum hospitalised due to concerns about her appearance. She looked really ill and she was passing it off as a tummy bug. Against her wishes I picked up the phone and got her into her doctor who immediately arranged for her to be admitted.
Turns out her spleen was at the point of rupture and she was operated on straight away. She spent a few weeks in hospital and I arranged toiletries, clothing, books etc and even attended Christmas Day as it was too far for Dad to attend (he's not good with heavy traffic anymore). My sibling attended once and that was it. I was there everyday, including xmas day and alone as kids weren't allowed in.
Once she was home, I rang regularly to check to see how she was doing. As you do. I don't get calls or visits. I am the one who makes them.
I then found out that my two teenaged nieces were coming to SA for a few weeks. I asked them when they were going to tell me and their response was oh we thought we did.
As time got closer to their arrival date, I suggested things I could do with them (in the scheme of things) and there was always the response along the lines of well your brother and his wife have this planned and we were going to do this...etc.. In other words, there was no room for me. DH asked me why I was surprised given that this was what they'd done in the past. I had no answer. I guess that every time I just expect things to be different.
A week after they were supposed to have arrived, there was no word. So I rang and inquired as to when we should visit. Dad says oh leave it for a week or so. Mum is doing things with them and they're away for New Year with a friend of their mother's (who lives ten minutes away from us) and then your brother is going to do this...etc.. she'll ring you. Again, no room for me.
In times past, I would just shrug it off and not think about it. This time, I admit I was feeling cut out and ****ed off because, yet again, I'd put myself out there and when that need was no longer there, I was forgotten or set aside. I guess you could say I was hurt. I don't like admitting that because, to me, it means that they've gotten to me. And I hate that.
So this time I have stepped back. I have not called. I have not gone over. I have not answered the phone. They, in turn, have called once, they don't visit and as far as I know, my nieces are here but I haven't seen them and am unlikely to. This makes me sad but there's little I can do. DH has been hugely supportive and we have instead focused on our impending new arrival because, the truth is, that the only family that will ever back me is the one I have with my DH as well as my friends and it's high time I started honouring that. I am not sure whether I want them back in my life as I'm tired of pouring water into a bucket with a hole in it.
I needed to write this. That's all. Thanks.